Meet our grantee partner, Colectivo No Tengo Miedo

An interview with Colectivo No Tengo Miedo’s former General Coordinator, Malú Machuca Rose.

Colectivo No Tengo Miedo is an LGBTIQ collective in Lima with the mission of promoting social justice, liberation and equal access to resources for the LGBTQI community. It is composed of a multidisciplinary team composed of artists, youth, activists and academic researchers.

In the video above, NTM’s former General Coordinator, Malú Machuca Rose, shares more about the organization’s work, including its emphasis on the arts.

Learn more about Colectivo No Tengo Miedo.

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Video transcript:

The reason we chose “No tengo miedo”, which means “I am not afraid”, is because it is so easy to understand that sentiment, because even a lot of cis-gender, heterosexual people are like “oh! You know, I’m not afraid either”, and you’re like “Oh, well cool, well sometimes our community is.” And it starts a conversation that comes from a place of empathy, because we can all relate to having been scared at some point of being ourselves.

Whenever I’m alone, I do feel very scared, especially if I am somewhere that I don’t really know. I think that’s why trying to put resources out there so people know who to call, what to do, where they can go to say, “Hey, this happened to me”. When we launched our website, we actually did a series of videos, and we set up a couple of things of how it was to be LGBTIQ in Lima, and then we asked people, “What is it like for you?” And that got people talking, got people to know the project. We also had a research group that was taking all these stories. We put them together in a book. We wrote some recommendations for public policy. It’s called “State Of Violence”. And we presented it to the people that were running for mayor of Lima, and it became a way to push the candidates and say, “Hey, LGBTIQ voters are a big part of the people that you know, you should be talking to as well.” 

A lot of the research work that we’ve done, and a lot of the political advocacy work that we have done, would not be able to reach the places that it did, and that it has, and continues to do without the arts. We started doing documentary theatre with LGBTIQ people and we invite The Ministry of Women, The Ministry of Health, of Work, of Education, and people running for congress to the theatre. So you’re sitting down, the lights are off, the doors are closed, where are you gonna go? And I think about after the hour and a half that the play lasted. When they left the room, they were, [lets out a sigh], like, you know, because you’re not going through the cognitive, the rational, where they know how to say no. They’re going through the emotional space. 

One of the things that really worked was that the plays were touching on things that were so common to everyone. They were like, “When we went to school”, you know, or “Our first love,” or “The first time we had sex”— all these experiences everyone had, but were not the same for LGBTQI people. And I think going through these more emotional routes of change, got them to say, “You know what, I’ve been really touched, can we talk?” And you’re like, “Yes, of course!” And it allowed us to speak to each other from a place of empathy.

And if we’re talking about, like these are our lives, like, we deserve to live, we deserve to go to school, we deserve these things that are very basic. People are like “Yes, yes you do”. And they understand. And it really was, like a change of how we do things, because we had these people sitting down listening to us tell our stories, in our language, through the arts, and we had been heard first, before they were even given the ability to talk, they had to see us, hear us. And that was just so powerful.

A lot of the times we use the same strategies in activism: we protest, we present. We do, like the formal, the rational. But when we change it up, even just a little bit, it can bring a whole new energy to what we’re doing. 

Getting funded by Astraea, we have felt very free to spend the money that we have and the resources that we have according to our priorities, and counting on the fact that we are in solidarity with each other. Having queer people, women from the same spaces that you’re from, that can understand why you need to do this work, why these are the priorities. I don’t think I’ve worked with an organization before that took my opinion and my experience as such an important part of how they organized their work and their resources, and that’s very important to me. You create the work that you want to see in the world, and I think that’s what Astraea did and that’s what we’re doing now, and that makes me very happy. 

Colectivo No Tengo Miedo

Colectivo No Tengo Miedo is an LGBTIQ collective in Lima with the mission of promoting social justice, liberation and equal access to resources for the LGBTQI community.

Colectivo No Tengo Miedo is an LGBTIQ collective in Lima with the mission of promoting social justice, liberation and equal access to resources for the LGBTQI community. It is composed of a multidisciplinary team composed of artists, youth, activists and academic researchers. In the last three years Collective NTM through research (two publications), theater (three LGBTIQ testimonial works) and political advocacy has expanded its movement and bases, deeply rooted in the participatory and horizontal organization. Shaping the team, the lines of work, the base of young activists and using innovative tactics has led to the mobilization of impressive support throughout the country for its LGBTQI public policy goals, education and cultural change.

*** En Español***

El Colectivo No Tengo Miedo es un colectivo LGBTIQ en Lima con la misión de promover la justicia social, la liberación y el acceso igualitario a recursos para la comunidad LGBTQI. Está integrado por un equipo multidisciplinario compuesto por artistas, jóvenes, activistas e investigadorxs académicxs. En los últimos tres años el Colectivo NTM a través de la investigación (dos publicaciones), el teatro (tres obras testimoniales LGBTIQ) y la incidencia política ha expandido su movimiento y bases, arraigadas profundamente en la organización participativa y horizontal. La conformación del equipo, la líneas de trabajo, la base de activistas jóvenes y usar tácticas innovadoras ha generado la movilización de un impresionante apoyo a lo largo del país por sus metas de políticas públicas LGBTQI, educación y cambio cultural.

Movimiento Lesbia

Founded in 2013, it is the first openly lesbian group in the southern Andean region of Peru, where there are high levels of institutional violence and hate for LGBT people, and where extreme religious fundamentalism halts all power to make decisions.

Movimiento Lesbia is a young lesbian organization based in the city of Arequipa, Peru. Founded in 2013, it is the first openly lesbian group in the southern Andean region of Peru, where there are high levels of institutional violence and hate for LGBT people, and where extreme religious fundamentalism halts all power to make decisions. Many of the members are under 30 years old and come from areas of the city that are very marginalized. Its mission is to end discrimination and violence against LGBT communities, in particular violence against lesbian and bisexual women. *** Movimiento Lesbia es una joven organización lésbica con base en la ciudad de Arequipa, Perú. Fundado en 2013, es el primer grupo abiertamente lésbico en la región sureña andina de Perú, donde hay altos niveles de violencia institucional y de odio hacia las personas LGBT, y donde un fundamentalismo religioso extremo acapara todo el poder para tomar decisiones. Muchas de las personas miembro tienen menos de 30 años y provienen de áreas de la ciudad súmamente marginalizadas. Su misión es acabar con la discriminación y la violencia hacia las comunidades LGBT, en particular la violencia contra las mujeres lesbianas y bisexuales.

Lesbianas Independientes Feministas y Socialistas

Founded in 2005, Lesbian Independent, Feminist and Socialist Lesbian (LIFS) has been a grantee partner of Astraea since 2008.

Founded in 2005, Lesbian Independent, Feminist and Socialist Lesbian (LIFS) has been a grantee partner of Astraea since 2008. LIFS is one of the oldest lesbian organizations in Peru. It is well-known and well-connected with the Peruvian feminist movement and over the years has created a voice in policy advocacy spaces such as the Ministry of Women. It believes that policy changes have to be accompanied by feminist transformations and, to this end, it organizes forums with young lesbians to provide feminist political education, works in coalition with LGBT and non-LGBT organizations, and one of its primary goals is to create networks. It also has a well-known “Batukada Lesbian Feminist Voices Les,” which is a type of grassroots political protest in the Latin American and Caribbean region, in which members go out to rallies and protests with drums and sing popular songs that are adapted to convey political messages. *** En Español*** Fundada en 2005, Lesbianas Independientes, Socialistas y Feministas (LIFS) ha sido co-parte de Astraea desde 2008. LISF es una de las organizaciones lésbicas más antiguas de Perú. Es bien conocida y está bien conectada con el movimiento feminista peruano y a través de los años ha creado a una voz en espacios de defensoría de políticas como el Ministerio de la Mujer. Cree que los cambios de políticas tienen que estar acompañados por transformaciones feministas y, para este fin, organiza foros con lesbianas jóvenes para brindar educación política feminista, trabaja en coalición con organizaciones LGBT y no LGBT, y una de sus metas primordiales es crear redes. También tiene una muy conocida “Batukada Lésbica Feminista Voces Les”, la cual es un tipo de protesta política de base en la región de Latinoamérica y el Caribe, en la cual las personas miembro salen a mítines y protestas con tambores y cantan canciones populares con líricas adaptadas para transmitir mensajes políticos.